Detectives seize more than 50 pounds of meth, arrest seven in large scale Polk County operation

Most of meth was still in liquid form

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - More than 50 pounds of meth are off the streets in Polk County after a nearly year-long investigation.

The meth seized is in nearly every form -- meth ready to sell, ready to distribute, and liquid meth ready to cook. The value is estimated at $850,000.

"This is a great deal of methamphetamine," said Sheriff Grady Judd during a news conference on Wednesday.

Detectives got their hands on all the meth after arresting Lydia Santiago of Bartow on Tuesday.

"She is a large, large meth dealer in this community," Judd said.

When detectives arrested her, they say she cooperated and pretended to order two more pounds of meth from her supplier.

The sheriff says Arturo Sanchez and Angel Castro, who are living in the United States illegally, showed up at her door with the drugs in hand.

Things got even more interesting when they traced them back to their make-shift meth warehouse in Winter Haven.

Investigators say the so-called "stash house" is where the men stored the drugs before finding a buyer.  There is no furniture inside, they say, just about 50 pounds of meth.

The neighbors we talked to had no clue.

"I thought all the three houses here were vacant, but evidently it wasn't," said Lloyd Hampton who lives a few doors down. "It's scary."

While a lot of meth, guns, and drug money are off the streets, the bigger question becomes -- who cooked all the meth and how did it get here?

"We're calling that a secret," Judd said, with a smile.

He admits they know a lot more than they're saying.

"We are after ya'll, so get ready. Get ready, it's not over yet."

Detectives arrested seven people on Tuesday in connection with the operation -- most of them face drug charges.

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